Own Your Feelings; Yes, Even the Sad Ones.
“Be willing to disappoint the world before you betray yourself.” Glennon Doyle
That’s one of my favourite quotes.
I find myself quoting it often. As a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser, it acts as a lifeline.
It helps me enforce my boundaries of trusting my voice and my worth in situations. It reminds me I do not need outside approval or validation to know that what I am experiencing is real.
Most people are uncomfortable with sad/dark feelings.
And so, they may want to hurry you up and get you to the sunny side of things faster than you are capable of.
But because this is not about you but about them and what is convenient or comfortable for them, they will want to rush you through.
Sometimes, we go with the flow and rush ourselves or pretend to be better when we are anything but, to avoid disturbing the peace, and yes, to maintain the comfort of our loved ones.
I used to do that.
I used to hide my true feelings so far deep inside that I would actually convince myself that I was all good.
I cared more about the comfort of others, without caring much about the harm I was doing to myself because, in those moments, I did not think I mattered.
I did not think I was enough. It’s very easy to dismiss someone you don’t think matters.
Therapy happened and I learned to love and honour myself, even if I was the only one doing it.
With that came the ability to hold space for myself and not play dress-up anymore with my emotions, regardless of how it made someone else feel.
So, if I’m sad, then I am sad. And I will be sad for as long as my system needs me to be sad so I can get the sadness out of me.
And so when someone asks me how I am, I will answer honestly. If they try to be like, “Oh you know, it’s just life. It will pass.”
My response is, “I know, however, for now, I am sad and that’s that.”
I will not apologise for it. I will not try to explain it. Because I’ve also found that most people will ask, “Oh, what’s going on?” Not because they actually want to know but more because they feel it’s the politically correct thing to ask.
I value my vulnerability enough to not give it to just anyone. “Do you really want to know?”
I can always tell when someone actually cares to know and when it’s just an act.
When I feel it’s an act, I change the topic immediately and see how they will react.
You see, someone who actually cares, will be invested. They will notice you have changed the topic and circle back to, “What’s going on?”
The one who asks to be politically correct will jump on the new topic and move on with it as if their life depended on it.
That’s life. That’s people for you.
I no longer get mad at these people. They’ve given me feedback they are not a safe space for my vulnerability, and that’s OK. Not everyone can be.
That does not mean, that if they ask me the question again tomorrow and I am still sad that I will lie.
The answer will remain for as long as that’s my truth. “I’m sad.”
There’s so much power in that. In owning your feelings, whatever they may be, and not letting anyone rush you through them.
Feelings and emotions are normal. All the feelings and emotions. None is good or bad — they just are. Or at least they should be.
There are lighter and heavier feelings and most of us don’t know how to handle the latter.
My suggestion is, at the very least, to learn how to handle the heavier and darker ones for yourself. Learn how to hold space for your feelings because you can’t be sure that anyone else will be capable of doing it for you. But you can.
And once you learn how to sit with your darkness and listen to it and not let it engulf you, you will never again allow someone outside of you to diminish what you’re feeling.
And that’s the real flex — knowing how to be your person and honouring that.
So yeah, you are free to feel all your feels and if you find people who can provide you with the space to do the same, thank God and take advantage of that.
However, just because someone cannot handle heavy and dark feelings does not mean that you should ignore your own.
Be willing to disappoint the world before you betray yourself.